Small bowel obstruction

Hover on/off image to show/hide findings

Tap on/off image to show/hide findings

Small bowel obstruction

  • Features of small bowel obstruction include the central position of gas-filled and distended loops of bowel.
  • The white lines passing across the full width of the bowel are 'valvulae conniventes' - these are only found in the small bowel.

Small bowel obstruction

Hover on/off image to show/hide findings

Tap on/off image to show/hide findings

Small bowel obstruction

  • The clinical history will often give a clue to the cause of obstruction.
  • Abdominal X-rays sometimes provide evidence of the cause of obstruction, as in this patient who had a history of previous surgery (cholecystectomy). Adhesions were found at time of surgery.

Small bowel obstruction?

Hover on/off image to show/hide findings

Tap on/off image to show/hide findings

Small bowel obstruction?

  • This image demonstrates distention of gas-filled loops of small bowel. This does not necessarily mean that the obstruction is in the small bowel.
  • In this patient a colonic mass was found to be obstructing the proximal large bowel.
  • Much of the small bowel is not visible in this image because it contains fluid and not gas.